Mobile pizzeria Pitruco trucking through Philly three years strong
While the logistical challenges of installing a wood-fired oven plague pizza makers of every caliber, the stakes are higher when the oven is on the move.
Pitruco truck owners Jonah Fliegelman and Nathan Winkler-Rhoades worked remotely to get all the pieces for their new mobile pizza spot into place.
They coordinated with a builder out of North Carolina, who would design the kitchen they needed on a flatbed trailer, and Mugnaini, an Italian oven importer out of Los Angeles, for all of the oven's specs and weights. In 2011, the oven was shipped to the builder, lifted onto the trailer and secured into place.
The Italian Valoriani brick oven is made of refractory fire brick and tons of insulation. It's a wood-style oven that cooks at about 700 to 750 degrees on the floor, and upwards of 900 plus degrees in the dome, explained Fliegelman — which is a good thing, because Pitruco's Neapolitan-inspired pies are cooked at a pretty high heat.
"We treat our dough more the way bread is treated," said Fliegelman. "We proof our dough for 18 to 24 hours, and we treat it gently. So there’s a nice amount of air. And we don't cook our pies at quite as high of a heat as, say, Nomad or Vetri, in order to give our crust a bit more crispiness, instead of being a lot more chewy."
They burn red oak. They buy a cord at a time and store only what they need for the service on the truck at any given time, which makes good sense: The 18-by-8-foot trailer allows for little more than a few feet in workspace in its galley-like kitchen.
"We started with a smart idea to do what we were trying to do on a trailer," said Jonah Fliegelman. "We figured it would be cheaper to outfit a trailer than to outfit a box truck."
Three years later, and Pitruco truck can be found all around the city. While their locations vary, depending on the day (check Twitter to find out where they are), the oven is surely in tow, snugly situated in the back of the big red trailer.
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Pitruco Pizza: Locations vary but home is Northwest Philly. Follow on twitter @PitrucoPizza for exact location.